Rupp received repeated honors for his courage

Larry Rupp received numerous medals while serving two tours in Vietnam, including two Silver Stars for valor, two Bronze Stars for meritorious service and three Purple Hearts for battle wounds.

His first Silver Star citation tells of a battlefield incident that occurred in the spring of 1969:

"First Lieutenant Rupp distinguished himself by heroic action on 17 May, 1969, while serving as a platoon leader with Company E, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry," it begins.

"While on a combined intelligence mission with elements of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, the joint unit approached a Vietcong suspect, who saw them and began to run across an open field to avoid capture. Lt. Rupp was leading four of his men in a running pursuit of the enemy when an unknown-sized hostile force began to place heavy fire on the friendly elements."

At that point, Rupp had been shot in the left shoulder.

"Lt. Rupp, although wounded by the initial hail of fire, continued to pursue the fleeing Vietcong," the citation continues. "As the contact progressed, Lt. Rupp assaulted the hostile positions and captured the fleeing Vietcong and two other suspects. His valorous actions were responsible for gaining valuable information concerning insurgency in the area."

His second Silver Star for gallantry was awarded for action a little over a month later on June 15. In that incident, his combined unit of South Vietnamese and American soldiers were attacked by a large enemy force.

"Immediately, Lt. Rupp led his platoon to a forward position and began directing a heavy volume of fire on the insurgents," that citation reads. "During the entire encounter Lt. Rupp fearlessly moved throughout the enemy kill zone as he led his men on several assaults of the hostile positions.

"Although knocked down twice by impacting enemy rocket-propelled grenades, Lt. Rupp continued to expose himself as he led his men, forcing the insurgents to retreat. His valorous actions contributed immeasurably to the success of the mission and to the defeat of the hostile forces."

Rupp shrugs off suggestions he was a hero.

"It just happens," he says. "You act on instinct."

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